asylum hill


    once upon a time
    or even below one
    there was an asylum
    somewhere here
    on asylum hill
    there had to be
    everything is named
    after it: asylum this
    asylum that

    all the doors
    and windows up
    and down the street
    have bars to keep
    people out, not in
    like the old days
    when you knew who
    was crazy up here
    on asylum hill

    our high school
    inmates are running
    every chance they get
    on a mission
    crazy with excitement
    and teenage faith
    that’s crazy enough
    to believe they can
    change the world

    or at least change
    the way life feels
    for those living on
    asylum hill
    so they are digging
    in the dirt, planting
    friendship and flowers
    hoping love takes root
    and blossoms

    I was crazy once —
    it all comes back
    when they come into
    the church kitchen
    to fill their plates
    and my ears with stories
    of faith run amok
    and I feel at home
    on asylum hill



    1. I believe these are the types of experiences that teach thinking creatively as you plant seeds of friendship and hope. Thanks for your part in offering this experience in living and creating faith! Blessings on your mission!

    2. I like this a lot. How cool that the kids are “planting friendship and flowers/ hoping love takes root and blossoms.” This poem is so full of heart and love — really, really nice.

    3. I feel at home at asylum hill sometimes. I sometimes call Los Angeles asylum hill. My stepdad jokingly told me that one of the main reasons I feel so at home here is because it’s full of crazy people and I’m crazy too. It’s a strange thing to feel at home in the midst of strangness.

    4. Milton —

      I’m a member at Asylum Hill Congregational Church and also the CEO of Foodshare, Hartford’s regional food bank. When Erica read this poem in church on Sunday, it moved me to tears. I remembered leading youth groups on mission trips in the past and also wondered if I’m still crazy enough to think I can change the world.

      I’d like permission to quote your poem in my blog which can be found at

    Leave a Reply